COVID-19 INFORMATION What you need to know about the coronavirus if you are living in Japan or planning a visit.
politics

WHO pandemic declaration won't change Tokyo Olympics plan: Suga

82 Comments

The requested article has expired, and is no longer available. Any related articles, and user comments are shown below.

© KYODO

©2020 GPlusMedia Inc.

82 Comments
Login to comment

I believe Japan is deliberately cutting back on testing to keep the numbers low for the Olympics. It's time for Japan to be realistic about this. People from all over are not going to travel for the Olympics in the middle of a pandemic. They need to accept that this will likely be canceled even if there is no significant outbreak in Japan.

43 ( +45 / -2 )

As others have said, it can't possibly go ahead as scheduled. The pandemic is just beginning. Even if there is a drop in cases, a worldwide event like this could mean a resurgence. People's lives and well-being are at risk. Going ahead would be selfish and foolhardy.

31 ( +32 / -1 )

"Globally, it may be a pandemic. But Japan has been dealing with the outbreak accordingly. The important thing is not to spread worries and confusion," a 46-year-old female worker from Tokyo's Kita Ward said.

I think the 'important thing' is not to spread the virus !!!

sigh

25 ( +26 / -1 )

I wonder how long will they continue to say that. The Olympics may continue but I'm expecting that it won't be packed stadiums. How about a pay per view?

15 ( +15 / -0 )

Reminds me of King Canute

You'd have thought magical thinking died with the widespread use of science

10 ( +10 / -0 )

"Nothing has changed significantly. We are working with the organizations involved to prepare for the games," a senior official said.

Nothing has changed, they are in complete denial that anything is wrong therefore it must not be happening. It's business as usual with their heads buried in the sand.

20 ( +21 / -1 )

Ridiculousness. But that is what I expect from this country now.

Making it harder to be tested keeps numbers down and therefore confirmed cases are few.

Everything looks fine but in actuality is a dumpster fire.

17 ( +17 / -0 )

"There is no change to the government stance that we will make preparations for the Tokyo Games as planned by keeping close contact with the International Olympic Committee, organizers, and the Tokyo metropolitan government,"

Because too much already spent for preparation and it will impact economy even more if they cancel. So consideration is more about economy.

12 ( +12 / -0 )

That photo perfectly sums up: ignorance, stubbornness and denial.

..."the feeling of the Japanese people, (a delay) is unthinkable," Koike told reporters

What people? Her political and corporate fat-cat buddies?

We ALL know the Olympics is 'unfortunately' over as originally scheduled to start in July 2020. People's health and trying to contain this virus is 1000x more important that playing games.

Tokyo 2021 is a much more logical, realistic and compassionate plan.

Accept it, more along and focus 100% of the governments efforts on supporting the people, small businesses and combating this virus.

14 ( +16 / -2 )

This is not a national event, and you can't do this alone. It's an international event that needs everyone's participation.

If they continue to make hourly ignorant and apathetic answers; it will start to hurt the people suffering right now around the world.

At least they need to take a silent stance, otherwise Japan's reputation will hurt day-by-day and it's more important than money, something that you can't buy.

And if they lose the sympathie, we'll be seeing considerable amount boycotting countries.

Yes, we only experienced one olympics that cancelled in history, but we had also one that got boycotted that nobody remembers, in 1980.

8 ( +10 / -2 )

This is turning into a farce. Talk about being in denial. It is obvious that Japan is hoping for a last minute reprieve as we head into summer and the virus dies off. However, there is no proof yet that it will automatically happen.

11 ( +11 / -0 )

Now you see it.

Now you don't.

The 'Ninja Olympic Games'.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

All part of the provision of bread and circuses.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Basically they will continue to strenuously deny the possibility of cancellation/postponement for as long as there is even a slim possibility things might be able to go ahead as planned.

Behind the scenes they know there is a strong possibility that the games will be cancelled or postponed, but if they so much as admit the possibility publicly they run the risk of it becoming a self fulfilling prophecy that they can't take back. So they have to stonewall.

Either this Coronavirus gets miraculously contained in the next two months or at one point they'll just immediately turn on a dime and call the whole thing off minutes after telling everyone it was going ahead as planned.

Just the way these things work.

10 ( +10 / -0 )

There are people who say various things. But if you think about the preparations made so far and the feeling of the Japanese people, (a delay) is unthinkable

Japanese people say various things. Some of my Japanese coworkers are in favour of postponing. Some aren’t particularly arsed about the Olympics in the first place. Others think it it’s a complete waste of time of money. Others are quite enthusiastic and think it should go ahead.

A small sample I know, but It’s a bit of a mixed bag.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

I'm sorry to say but I think the people making the decisions with the Olympics will be the delegates from other countries deciding to pull out. Just today a major trade show in Las Vegas was cancelled because the main exhibitors started to cancel for concern about the staff and families. Governments won't risk backlash from families of the players.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

It is possible that Japan will hold the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics without athletes and spectators, or alternatively with Japanese only athletes and spectators.

-8 ( +5 / -13 )

An infected human being is Vulnerable

As I do training of the muscular strength and eat a protein and glutamine powder, asparagus, an onion, chicken every day, I do not infect it by 100%.

-10 ( +0 / -10 )

Nothing has changed, they are in complete denial that anything is wrong therefore it must not be happening. It's business as usual with their heads buried in the sand.

Yep. typical Japanese response to anything "muzukashii"!

Gambatte, right?

1 ( +3 / -2 )

This is getting embarrassing now.

The fingers in the ear 'la, la, la, I'm not listening' approach is both dangerous and childish.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

Almost thought they were playing rock, scissors, papers at first glance...

Hope they are not sandbagging with people's health on the line just to keep the hope of an Olympics alive.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

they will organize fake Olympic game with actors

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

"Globally, it may be a pandemic. But Japan has been dealing with the outbreak accordingly. The important thing is not to spread worries and confusion," a 46-year-old female worker from Tokyo's Kita Ward said.

Typical J arrogance ignorance - regardless of world opinion and data we are special.

4 ( +9 / -5 )

Globally, it may be a pandemic. But Japan has been dealing with the outbreak accordingly. The important thing is not to spread worries and confusion

Well, OK, so what do you if no foreign athletes and visitors turn up because it is a global pandemic? It is not like Japan can decide this alone.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Japan may have a chance to win a record number of golds cause no other athlete in their right mind will be coming here if this pandemic continues.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Tokyo Gov Yuriko Koike expressed concern that the pandemic declaration could affect discussions over the hosting of the Tokyo Games, but added, "There is no way that the games will be canceled."

This article may be misleading. While Koike says CANCELLATION is unthinkable, DELAY is possible.

See:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1OEgD5KLMTU

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Tokyo can do and say whatever it wants. If the athletes of the world decide not to participate, there will be no Olympics.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

IOC has said a decision doesn't need to be made till Mid May. There's no reason to make any decision right now. A decision to cancel or postpone can easily be made by then. Or at anytime later if the situation changes. The presently increasing spread of COVID19 globally and it's effects on everything from economics to transportation needs to be monitored and a decision made at the proper time.

3 ( +8 / -5 )

What ever new information on the CoronaVirus is, there is no need to reconsider or to actually think about what is really happening because we would like to make a lot of money. Is that what the headline means?

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Bite the bullet. Postpone to 2021 or 2022 now, so everyone can start replanning.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

It doesn't really matter what they say or wish. One thing they never even think about is the athletes who by the nature of their activities are obviously very health conscious. They have to be. Does the Abe cabinet, including the IOC really believe that thousands of athletes from all over the world will agree to be put together in the Olympic village, an enclosed and rather small area which isn't that much different from a cruise ship. And are the Chinese, the South Koreans and Italians invited too? They may stubbornly go forward with the Olympics, sure, but the real question will be: Will there be any athletes coming to compete?

5 ( +5 / -0 )

"Nothing has changed significantly. We are working with the organizations involved to prepare for the games,"

Why on earth would we seek the help of experts, virologists, doctors, and others when we can simply form a panel of sponsors, organizers who have received money from said sponsors, construction companies who have tirelessly bid on the projects associated, businesses with financial ties to us and the Olympics, and the IOC -- the leader in receiving money to organize, who know FAR more about what is important here?

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Come on, people. Those concerts you had tickets for? The sumo (sorry... "Sumoooooh"), baseball games (we'll cancel the kids' events, and high school baseball, but not the one with real money at play), F1, community events, and everything else that involves crowds MUST (errr... we 'request' that they) be cancelled, but not the Olympics! That's different!!

6 ( +8 / -2 )

Like the marathon, the games themselves going on or not will NOT be decided by Japan(it could never come to a decision), it will be decided by the IOC, who will consult with the big NOCs & the TV stations & other big sponsors etc as THEY will all have a say in things & will also want to avoid extra loses, which would be MUCH lower sooner, leave things till May or later & the costs skyrocket!!!

5 ( +5 / -0 )

I do not know the particular circumstances of the Olympic Games, but there have been news articles saying that major league sports, and even college sports, make the bulk of their profit from television revenue, not fans in the stadium. Not having the fans pay for hotels and meals would be a huge blow to Tokyo, but the IOC might decide that they will be ok, since that sort of revenue does not go to the IOC.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

This is turning into a farce. Talk about being in denial. It is obvious that Japan is hoping for a last minute reprieve as we head into summer and the virus dies off. However, there is no proof yet that it will automatically happen.

Winter will soon arrive for the counties in the southern hemisphere so is Japan going to ban people from those countries entering Japan during the Olympic? If not then who are going to risk their lifes coming to the biggest mass gathering in the world?

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Until I see some announcement from Prime Minister Abe that testing is taking place, I fully believe what Dark Nuts at the very top of the list says. Certainly numbers are purposely being made to look low so that the OLYMPICS will not be canceled. I can't imagine the Olympics being held unless this mysterious virus doesn't disappear.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Without words! They definitely don't know what they're doing!

4 ( +5 / -1 )

That renowned Japanese exceptionalism is being flown from the top of the mast again.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

We must care for the “feelings” of the Japanese people.

Whether it is cancer or lifestyle-related diseases, an important factor in modern medical care is "early detection." Carrying out tests jeopardizes the 2020 Olympics and Para Olympics; therefore the elderly of Japan will take one for the team.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

"Nothing has changed significantly. We are working with the organizations involved to prepare for the games," a senior official said.

He must be living off the grid on some deserted island for the last couple of months....I wanna do that too.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Lives are more important than a capitalist idea ???.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Sure. Continue with the plan. Maybe the virus will feel your resolve and stop itself from spreading and making people sick.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Abe showing how many arrows he has left and the chance of staying in power.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Plans are made to be broken. Cancelling or deferring the Olympics is not her call but the IOC’s. We shall just have to wait and see. You can bet your last shekel though that her administration already has contingency plans in place in case the IOC do decide to nix it.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Abe should stand with the people he represents and not the Olympic committee officials who have made demands for things from the start. The government should realize that they can not base budget forecasts based on tourism as a continuous revenue and charge people for leaving as well. China has been the biggest spenders for years and that has now disappeared. For that matter, so has Koike for the most part.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

With one professional basketball playee, Rudy Gobert, testing positive for Covid-19 resulting in the NBA season shutting down, I'm sure professional athletes making millions won't risk coming to Japan.

It's best to find a way to postpone the Olympics until 2021. I hope that's possible for Japan's sake.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

"Globally, it may be a pandemic. But Japan has been dealing with the outbreak accordingly. The important thing is not to spread worries and confusion," a 46-year-old female worker from Tokyo's Kita Ward said.

I have no idea if this is a real person or a fictional character, but either way the remark is nonsense. Japan is as much in the pandemic as everyone else. (A pandemic is global, which is why it called a pandemic.). There is no way around it. It's here. And it is not going to go conveniently away in July, just in time for the Olympics.

Abe, Koike and the Olympic Committee are in denial.

Denial is not altogether new to Japan. Reading this article and others an analogy sprung to mind: The Japanese in World War II refusing to surrender when they knew all was lost. It took Stalin and two A-bombs to convince Hirohito and a few other rational people to surrender. And even then, a group of fanatic military rebels almost pulled a coup d'etat. This is same mentality I am seeing here. Let the last athlete and last spectator collapse into each other's arms before the whole this called off and the foreigners are blamed.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Just saw the torch ceremony on the 7pm news beamed in live from Greece. The atmosphere was akin to funeral proceedings. I especially felt for the television announcers who had to to deal with the Coronavirus news as well.

It was obvious from the tones of their voices and body language that none of them actually believed that the Olympics will take place.

So, when it is inevitably postponed does that mean they will re-do the torch ceremony again? What a waste of time and money. IOC: do everyone a favour and just postpone until 2022.

For now, Japan should be concentrating on containing the virus. Abe looks spent.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Let’s just come back to this in a fortnight shall we.

The greatest shortcoming of the human race is our inability to understand the exponential function” Albert Bartlett

I’d say Koikesan is still in a state of denial, either that or just doesn’t understand nor comprehend whats coming. Let’s hope Abesan isn't in the same boat!

3 ( +3 / -0 )

It looks like they are both playing jan ken pon! ^^

5 ( +5 / -0 )

I really wonder who will risk watching such a spectacle in searing heat with the nagging thought that infection could be around the corner at any moment...

5 ( +5 / -0 )

"'The outbreak seems to be subsiding in China but when you hear the word 'pandemic,' it feels like there is no end in sight. I doubt that the Tokyo Games will be held (as planned),' said a 60-year-old man in Sapporo, the capital of Hokkaido in northern Japan."

Well, some people in Japan get it. Right now for me feels like the days after 11 September 2001. The full realisation that the world I knew just a few days ago is gone and maybe not coming back. Regarding the ability to hold sporting events, the situation now is worse. The U.S. was able to host the Winter Olympics in Utah in February 2002, five months after 9/11, because containing the threat of terrorism was easier than containing the threat of a pandemic.

Bad luck and bad timing for Japan. If Istanbul or Madrid were set to host the Olympics this summer instead of Tokyo, I'm not sure the governments of Turkey or Spain would be any less in denial. A pandemic has never cancelled the Olympics before. But there's a first for everything. It should be said, though, that it was extremely reckless and irresponsible for Japanese authorities to so massively overspend way above budget on preparation for the Olympics. THAT could have been prevented.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

A win-win for Japan would be if the Olympics are not cancelled, but 95% of all the other countries don't show up.

Then Japan can win all the medals and parade around for having the greatest athletes in the world.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Tokyo-Sapporo 2021.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

CaptDingleheimer.......Gold.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Is anybody else getting flashbacks to the Mayor of Amity Island telling Chief Brody that the beaches WILL be open for the 4th of July?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0z3Rs7VMIs4

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Ricky Kaminski:

I’d say Koikesan is still in a state of denial...

Koike says the corona virus will influence the Olympic. She says DELAY is a possible option that will be decided by IOC. Its CANCELLATION, however, is unthinkable.

Furthermore, in this meeting with Abe, in order to deal with the corona virus she has requested the government to communicate and work with local governments by (1) swiftly sharing the information, (2) providing urgent economic assistance to local governments, (3) clarifying principles and standards on which his government announced the state of emergency.

In addition, her metropolitan government earlier on the same day announced the (2nd) additional emergency measure of about 10B Yen in order to expand facilities for testing and caring and to support businesses.

That is hardly a state of denial.

東京都の小池知事は3月12日、首相官邸で安倍首相と面会し、新型コロナウイルス対策に関する、都をはじめとする自治体への財政支援などを求める緊急要望を行いました。また、東京都は新たに111億円規模の追加の緊急対策を打ち出しました。

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sM9ylGqNrnQ

1 ( +1 / -0 )

There is no bearing at the Olympics can be held if there is a pandemic of a highly infectious and fatal disease raging on around the world.. Difficult decisions lie ahead between now and end of May. Unless the situation improves dramatically around the world, there' s no way the Olympics can go on. Japan and Tokyo must kiss the Olympics good bye.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Guess you can stay inside and hide in your room and hoard your toilet paper or you can go outside and live your life. It's a beautiful day outside and I choose to live my life.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

said a 60-year-old man in Sapporo, the capital of Hokkaido in northern Japan

Just quoting a random person?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

It would go a long way to aiding governments if people cancelled all holidays.

and governments in all countries cancelled all travelers and holidaymakers it would reduce many new cases.

and make the problem easier to handle. another sure way to stop the spread is ground all aircraft. and close airports.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

The sequence should be IOC with WHO to decide the Olympic Games how and when to adjust the schedule or any other programs, JOC and Tokyo's and Japan's govt. to follow what was decided then to take less internal problems. If Koike or Abe want to do something against what was decided Japan will lose a lot this special world's sport event to "cancelled" as it happened in ww2, a next to next finally Tokyo again...

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Hubris.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

All I have to say is that never, in it's long, storied history, has the 'fist bump' ever looked less cool than it did when those two muppets did it.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Japan and IOC will lose big if they proceed with the Olympics. They should just postpone it a year. If they don't cancel the Olympics, very few people are going to attend the games. It is very unfortunate for Japan that this coronavirus pandemic happened right before the Olympics.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Stupid picture - if one of you has the Virus, then bumping fists is no different from shaking hands... and anyone notice the absence of a Face Masks between them ? (Ah well, maybe they are attempting to show Solidarity to the rest of us who can't find a face mask to buy).

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Always the last line!! "Let the last athlete and last spectator collapse into each other's arms before the whole this called off and the foreigners are blamed". should read: *Let the last athlete and last spectator collapse into each other's arms before the whole thing is called off and the foreigners are blamed.*

My first and last thoughts on the Olympics, except that I'm not going.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

President Trump has just suggested the delay of the Tokyo Games by a year. Perhaps it is the most reasonable among other Plan Bs. No matter how Japan will continue to make a maximum effort, and eventually succeed in its homeland virus containment on time, it depends on other participant countries under the crisis.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

If true, Trump making sense for a change. Delay the games for one year.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

For Pete’s sake...Abe seems he’ll-bent in getting his vanity project, regardless of how much damage it does.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

*hell-bent. Autocorrect thought I was being a bit testy, it seems

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The Olympic Games are not Japanese games they are global countries.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

They will delay it despite their heads in the sand attitude. July is not far ahead enough time to have a vaccine available and there's no warranty that the virus is no longer spreading. Other countries will not sending their athletes. Witness the disintegration of the Australian Grand Prix.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Denial regarding the Olympics is off the charts. No way to allow large crowds from around the world to congregate.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I thought they were playing yakyuken to see if they would actually go ahead with the Olympics.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

It's impossible to even prepare for the Olympic Trials in June. most athletes need 5 to 12 races before hand they just canceled a month of races and there are no competitions in europe.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

This is typical Japanese disaster decision making. Everyone sits around having discussions while the Titanic steams closer and closer to the iceberg.

I have no doubt that it will eventually be postponed or cancelled at the last minute, primarily because of issues outside of Japan's control. With international travel being curtailed by travel restrictions from governments and airlines, the logistical issues associate with transporting athletes and the supporting entourages to from Japan will be insurmountable.

The biggest issue is this:

Japan is viewing this both as a prestige and a money making exercise. The Olympics are a good reason to spend trillions on new infrastructure in the cities and out of the way places and largely recoup those costs through tourist spend.

Tourists aren't going to take the risk of traveling to Japan through other countries when Travel Insurance will be non-existent.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Russia still doesn't have a single reported infection. An obvious emergency alternative for the games.

Unless we don't believe the Russian numbers.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

The 2020 games have to happen in Japan. If they are delayed then it should still happen in Japan. Does not help changing to another country.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Ya think hundreds of thousands of foreign spectators all the athletes and staff will risk their lives to breathe in-flight air transit other countries and come to Japan where even if they contract the virus will probably be denied testing and certainly quarantined for unknown length of time far far away from home and their families? Wow - the folks in charge sure are optimists or just plain fools.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The 2020 games have to happen in Japan. If they are delayed then it should still happen in Japan. Does not help changing to another country.

Looks like it will be the 2021 games though. It does not seem likely that the Corona problem will be over by July.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites